The internet has the potential to destroy society, the Archbishop of York has warned.
Archbishop David Hope said that computer “wizardry” was in danger of creating a “society without a soul”.
“This technology is something that could ultimately devour us,” he said in an interview with Conservatism, the quarterly journal of the Conservative Christian Fellowship.
The archbishop’s comments follow a Church of England report that warned that society should wake up to the ethical and spiritual implications of the internet.
In February, the archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, warned about what he saw as the perils of internet use, saying it could be exclusive and isolating.
‘No social interaction’
Dr Hope expressed concerned at the way the internet could limit levels of human interaction.
“I fear that we are becoming a nation which simply sits in front of a television screen and orders its lives at the press of a button or mouse,” he said.
“The danger is in having all this wizardry in individual homes which people never leave and where there is, as a result, no social interaction.”
“Like all these developments, there is that which has the potential for good, and that which has the potential for evil. There is in the internet the potential for destroying ourselves.”
Chris Wright, chairman of the group Christians on the Internet, said he was sympathetic to Dr Hope’s comments.
But he warned against Christians failing to become involved in the development of the new technology.
“He has pointed out the dangers of the internet just like there are great dangers in books and other communication mediums. I think there is an even greater danger, though, in being afraid of it,” he said.
“Just like the Church is deeply involved in work in areas such as red light districts in towns and cities and working amongst the dregs of society, we need to be involved in the internet and using our influence for the good.”